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Vol. XXXVIII No. 3  The HAPA News  September 6, 2016

HAPA Board Meeting

HAPA Board meeting September 20, 6 p.m. If you are interested in the issues discussed in this newsletter, please contact us so I can invite you to the meeting.

City Plans to Avoid Maple Main Project Study

Comments Due on Maple Main by September 21, at 5 p.m.

Planning Commission Public Hearing October 6, at 7 p.m.

The Planning Commission intends to adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration on the Maple Main project. Please ask the City to do an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to deal with the significant impacts this project will have and to coordinate an EIR with the Lincoln Landing project, which is getting an EIR. More details discussed below.

Email your comments to:

You may also write to: Planning Director, City of Hayward, 777 B Street, Hayward CA 94541. You can attend the hearing and speak up.

Maple Main Needs and EIR

The Maple Main project plans to build 240 rental apartments five stories high, five retail shops, and a large medical office building. The apartments would be built around a six-level garage for 481 parking spaces.

City has determined that Lincoln Landing needs an EIR. This gives weight to our belief that Maple Main also needs an EIR. Environmental review not only has to consider the project and development to the current time, but also relevant pending projects and known future projects. The purpose of this requirement is to avoid something called "piecemealing," which means avoiding discussion of overall environmental impacts by focusing on only part of what is going on. With Lincoln Landing and Maple Main both in the planning and permitting process, it seems to us that both need EIRs to analyze the cumulative impacts of the two projects.

Another interesting aspect of Maple Main is how it relates to the Green Shutter development, for which the City has required no parking at all. When I talked to the City Planner on this issue, she told me that the lack of parking was grandfathered in, and also that the City was not concerned about it. The reason is that the downtown supports a walking-oriented lifestyle and the City is developing regulations for managing parking downtown. It is therefore ironic that Maple Main is proposed with an abundance of parking in a huge parking structure, when its location is very similar to the Green Shutter.

A major reason to study Maple Main and Lincoln Landing together is because they easily have the resources to support a good shuttle connecting them to downtown Hayward and Hayward BART. The HAPA proposal for a walkable Maple Main project has extensive detail on how such a rapid shuttle would work.

The Initial Study for Maple Main makes no mention of Lincoln Landing, the Green Shutter, or a rapid shuttle. It makes no mention of the ability to live without owning a car in the project. It makes no mention of how walking, shuttle, taxis, Lyft, Uber, carshare, car rental, and short walking distances could obviate the need to own a car, which would save people money and reduce traffic downtown.

The Initial Study makes no mention of the difficulty of pedestrians crossing A Street. In fact, it does not mention A Street at all. Yet, it is crystal clear in General Plan policies that the City intends to have safe and attractive pedestrian crossings. The environmental evaluation should consider how the project could make A Street easier to cross. The City requires improving intersections that are affected by traffic from a project, so it could logically require pedestrian improvements.

The Hayward General Plan calls for unbundling the parking, which would require tenants including tenants in the medical office building, to pay separately for the parking spaces they want to use. Unbundling could tempt people to park downtown or in the Prospect Hill neighborhood. The regulation for downtown parking is coming along, but the City has done nothing to develop a program for managing parking in the Prospect Hill neighborhood. Interestingly enough, the General Plan also requires neighborhood parking management and the Initial Study fails to mention this issue.

In Defense of Prospect Hill Homeowners

It is fashionable in the media to bash homeowners for resisting construction of new housing. A recent example of this was in the New York Times, April 17, 2016: ". . . a generational break that pits cranky homeowners and the San Francisco political establishment against a cast of newcomers who are demanding the region make room for them, too."

Are Prospect Hill homeowners cranky? Not in this case. They are legitimately concerned about increased traffic and parking in their neighborhood, but they have also been willing to support HAPA's plan for substantial development of the Maple Main property. This development would unbundle the parking, creating even more parking pressure on their streets. The only way this can work is with an effective neighborhood parking management program consisting of permits for residents and time limits for commercial parking. Such a scheme needs to be worked out in cooperation with the neighborhood, implemented, and proven effective as a basis for the Maple Main project. Main Street already has excessive parked cars, so a management program would create some spaces for easier parking by residents and businesses. We know from several other areas in the city that these permit programs can be quite successful. We have these programs by Chabot College, the main post office, and CSU Hayward. The program should be paid for by the development which would be creating most of the problem. HAPA has initiated a request with the City for a program that HAPA would initially pay for.

We think that Prospect Hill people deserve a lot of credit for supporting development of needed housing in a way that is sustainable and improves the quality of life in Hayward.

Sherman Lewis, President
Hayward Area Planning Association
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2787 Hillcrest Ave. Hayward CA 94542